04/09/2017 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

3 top free websites for finding Royal Navy ancestors

9b61417e-7aa9-430b-8e3b-bd97462843eb

Did your relatives serve their country at sea in past times? Fortunately, there are extensive Royal Navy (RN) records available at The National Archives at Kew – including many online – and you’ll find a series of very useful research guides to them on the TNA website.

 

However, before you begin delving into the records, it’s well worth gaining an understanding about the Navy’s career structure and distinctions between roles, because most TNA sources are divided into separate records for officers and ratings. Was your relative a commissioned officer, a captain, commander, lieutenant, midshipman, commodore, or even admiral? Alternatively, many of the crew were ratings, which included seamen and equivalent ranks, such as stokers and petty officers.

 

Join the Family Tree community  
Follow us on facebook
Follow us on twitter
Sign up for our free e-newsletter

Discover Family Tree magazine‚Äč

 

You can find out more about the records and distinctions in maritime genealogist Simon Wills’s excellent guide to tracing Royal Navy ancestors in the October 2017 issue of Family Tree, available here.

 

But to first whet your appetite for your family history research, here are 3 of Simon’s other top choices of free websites that could reveal more about your Royal Navy employee:

 

1 Commonwealth War Graves Commission 

Indexes all RN personnel who died in WW1 or WW2 and provides their service number and place of commemoration

 

2 WW1 officers and ratings

The RN Lives at Sea resource provides wartime biographies of many officers and ratings, derived mainly from service records transcriptions

 

3 Unit histories 

This database has biographies of many WW2 officers who served in the RN. It includes naval reservist officers too.

 

WW1 seaman image: © Simon Wills.

 

Back to Reviews

04/09/2017 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Reviews

Rats Alley: Trench Names of the Western Front 1914-1918 - Family Tree book review

Family Tree Editor Helen Tovey reviews the extended 2nd edition of Peter Chasseaud's World War I book, Rats ...


Tracing Villains & Their Victims - Family Tree book review

Get to grips with genealogy records connected to crime with this new handbook for family historians, Tracing ...


3 top websites to find apprentice ancestors

Trying to find your ancestors who were apprenticed? Discover our 3 top websites & start exploring today. ...


Emigrants: Why the English Sailed to the New World - Family Tree book review

Family Tree assistant editor Karen Clare reviews 'Emigrants: Why the English Sailed to the New World' by ...


Other Reviews in this category

Rats Alley: Trench Names of the Western Front 1914-1918 - Family Tree book review

Family Tree Editor Helen Tovey reviews the extended 2nd edition of Peter Chasseaud's World War I book, Rats ...


Tracing Villains & Their Victims - Family Tree book review

Get to grips with genealogy records connected to crime with this new handbook for family historians, Tracing ...


3 top websites to find apprentice ancestors

Trying to find your ancestors who were apprenticed? Discover our 3 top websites & start exploring today. ...


Emigrants: Why the English Sailed to the New World - Family Tree book review

Family Tree assistant editor Karen Clare reviews 'Emigrants: Why the English Sailed to the New World' by ...